Re: Call for projects for grants

Dave, Stormy,

I love your idea of providing grants for accessibility projects!

Some ideas I have are:


 * Perfect a free software eye tracker program like OpenGazer (needs a
*lot* of work to be usable & stable)
 * Gestual commands - this existed when I was a young lad, you drew "N"
with your mouse on the screen & this opened netscape. Would be very
useful in touch-screen environments.
 * Open voices - doing quality synthetic voices is a lot of work, major
research project & lots of time in a sound studio with specialised
actors. Funding one (or several) in various languages would be useful.

Your first suggestion - funding improvements in OpenGazer - is already happening thanks to the AEGIS project, with funds from the European Commission as part of their Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). See for general information about AEGIS, and note that the OpenGazer page now notes their AEGIS funding at

OpenGazer is one of the engineering deliverables in AEGIS that is furthest along, with staff recently hired and coming up to speed on the codebase. I expect the GNOME community will hear more from the OpenGazer folks soon...

AEGIS right now is winding up the first of five broad "phases" of work. This first phase is user requirements gathering (being done by the disability organization members of the AEGIS consortium), and it is culminating in a User Forum and Workshop in the UK in June (see I'll be blogging about the results and of course the AEGIS website will be updated with them as well. Your third suggestion - open voices - is also a task that'll be getting AEGIS funding. I expect that will start in the second half of this year, focused primarily on polishing the eSpeak voices in various European languages. As that effort starts up, it'll get reported on in the gnome-accessibility mailing list.

[Mind you, just because something is being funded doesn't mean more funding is unwelcome. For example, there are a *lot* of languages in the world; there is almost always work to be done in text-to-speech improvements, no matter who else is doing stuff in that space.]

Internet + accessibility:

 * Integrate an eBook library like Gutenberg Library or Bookshare into
the desktop - integrate well with Orca to make a book reader

The good folks at Benetech (creators of Bookshare) are using Mozilla Foundation funding to create a DAISY (and eBook) reader as an extension to Firefox. Called DAISYfox, it was demoed at the CSUN Conference on Technology and Persons with Disabilities last month, and is coming along nicely. By the way, in case y'all didn't already know about it, there is also an "Export to DAISY" extension to, which addresses the other part of the eBook/DAISY equation - generating accessible books. That work is coming along nicely, and while I don't think it's in the latest downloadable code, I've seen a version (at CSUN) that will generate a full talking book using eSpeak or other TTS engine that you have on your system. It uses the latest in the DAISY Pipeline to do that (specifically Pipeline Lite), GPL code which now makes use of eSpeak as free TTS option.

I also want to second Alberto's suggestion of GtkWebKit accessibility support. This effort could use more folks engaged in it...

Finally, please check out our already-prepared page of GNOME accessibility desires, at


Peter Korn
Accessibility Architect & Principal Engineer,
(and AEGIS Technical Leader)
Sun Microsystems, Inc.

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